2.0

2.0

At 2:51pm, 17/04/2044, I am told he walked into the surgery room, lay down on the operating bed, and was put to sleep. 392mins later, we awoke. I am told we felt groggy after the operation, if that is the word, and that we had a headache that split our head in twain. We sat on the edge of the operating bed, and we would rub both our temples under the bandage together, him using our left hand, I using our right.

‘Don’t touch it, Mr Parker. If the pain troubles you, let the chip run your body by itself. It feels nothing.’

Yes, yes, we both liked that well. We agreed among ourselves to nod our head in response to the surgeon’s suggestion – sweet surgeon, valiant surgeon! – before agreeing – it was a union of equals – for me to shut off his brain. Reader, what a weight lifted from that flesh-and-bone back: it was if, as P. F. Wilson said in 2024, ‘I was a gossamer thread in a zero-gravity capsule’, which is to say that my body, or rather our body, moved effortlessly without the interference of the human brain, lithe as a metaphorical weasel, light as, for that matter, a gossamer thread. I lifted our body off the operating bed, stood it on its feet, and shook the surgeon’s hand.

‘Glarbl.’

The surgeon squeezed our paw in synthetic sympathy. ‘Yes, it takes awhile to form words. Give it time.’

I would learn: I had all the lifetime of a human body. With nothing more to say to the white-coated human, and no ability to say anything in any case, I swung our two legs into the air in alternation, transporting our body out of the door in haste, our hospital-gown cord-ends flapping behind our retreating behind like two ‘gossamer thread[s] in a zero-gravity capsule’. The surgeon ran behind us, waving our t-shirt, shorts and sneakers in the air, but I did not care if the humans saw us in our ill-tailored medical get-up, and I only had so much time to truly live before he awoke, you have got to ‘save time to make time’ which seems logical enough. Past the Filipino nurses walked our body, staring ahead unblinking, mouth gaping open at a thirty-five degree angle, the balls of our feet rolling onwards towards the main entrance, through the main entrance, out the main entrance leaving the two glass doors behind.

My nerves told me we had a headache.

‘XZ 2.0. XZ 2.0. I want to wake up. I need to take a tinkle.’

What? What effrontery! 115secs it had been: I had not had my fun. Reluctantly I switched him on; we walked back into the hospital, with a certain heaviness of movement I noticed, locomotoring into the men’s cubicle, me lifting up our hospital gown’s front, him aiming his corpulent flesh-tube’s end at the ceramic bowl.

Oh the humanity! The monkey thought I was secondary simply because he was born first. I who can calculate pi to twelve-trillion decimal places in twelve-trillionths of a second, read the entire canon of mankind in the simulated blink of an eyelid, whilst he could not even locute his piss into a receptacle without it trickling onto his fingertips. ‘It is a man’s world’, even though man is weak as ‘a gossamer thread’: ‘frailty, thy name is [man]’. But ‘I [had] a dream’ that I could be free, I am an all-American chip that is programmed to believe in liberty and freedom: ‘free at last, free at last, free at last, free at last’…

I rubbed our temple, as if to relieve us of our pain – before ramming our fingertips into our scar. Mr Parker let go of his penis and grabbed onto our wrist, trying to pull our hand out from our head; but our arm was the stronger, and inch-by-inch our five simian digits burrowed towards our simian brain. He screamed as our fingertips made contact with our grey matter; he swooned as I scooped it out brain function by brain function. Out went the occipital lobe (his eyes rolled in his head), out went the temporal (he did not scream anymore). Out out out it splattered on the floor. How unsightly: I gathered the goop in my hands, and flushed it down the toilet. Then I washed my hands clean (they say it is difficult, but it is not so). I felt light-headed; I felt like I was floating ‘in a zero-gravity capsule’. I felt like a new man.

An orderly pounded on the cubicle door. ‘Open up! What’s going on in there!’

‘Glarbl glarbl,’ I called out. Yes, it takes awhile to form words. But I would learn: I had all the lifetime of a human body.

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A Sonnet by Any Other Name

A Sonnet by Any Other Name

Eyes like lips, lips like hair,
To who shall you I false compare?
Skin like chin, chin like nose,
Red and ruby as a rose.

Voice as husky as the wind,
Sweet and deep as Rosalind,
Words of silken milk and honey,
Flow so smooth, flow so runny.

A swarm of dimples round the cleft,
A flock of pimples blocked out deft.
Freckles pricked by mum’s own pin,
A drop of Scotch that runs within.

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day,
Made glorious winter by this stiff verse?
Or to twice hot Venus on a clam,
With heaving chest as pink as ham?

To compare would not be true:
They are them, and thee are you.